Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Surprise, Surprise

Nobody more surprised than us.  Or more happy.   

*Baby due Christmas 2013*

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

saturday waffles

Tradition. I love the sound of that word and all the possibility of pleasant times and warm memories it holds.  But when it comes to starting and sticking with one...
Early this fall, we discovered this waffle recipe and my children fell in love with the video of them being made - watched it over and over.  And then, we proceeded to dream of a waffle machine and a Saturday morning waffle tradition for two months. 

One day, I determined we would start the hunt for a machine, and I took us all to a local second-hand shop and actually did find this darling, vintage waffle machine for $2.  It then sat around for another whole month.

At last, on Saturday, December 1st,  I woke up and determined that this would be the day.  I wouldn't put if off or wait for someone to come hold my hand and do it for me anymore.  I would do it. We would make waffles.
I gathered the children around the kitchen counter, and we mixed the batter together and warmed up the old machine.  We had some fussing, some tears - all the built up excitement proved too much for some of our little hearts.

But almost magically one waffle after another was added to the stack.  And soon we were all sitting around our family table, having Saturday Morning Waffles. 

It was wonderful, so wonderful that we've made waffles every Saturday this month.  We just may have started a real-life Tradition.  Only time will tell, but we're making good memories in the meantime.  And by the bye, we love this recipe - it's packed with protein and gluten free, using almond flour instead of wheat.  The waffles have a sweet, nutty taste, perfect with butter and just a little real maple syrup. 

with love,


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

at my desk

I pretty much finished addressing our Christmas cards this afternoon - there are always seems to be one or two addresses left to track down.   And while it may have been convenient to address our Christmas cards while watching our customary show at night, I decided instead to address them at my little desk, to enjoy the glow of the Christmas tree nearby, the noise of the children running all about, and this Christmas music - which I just discovered and is the only Christmas music I seem to want to listen to - I love it so much.

This year we ordered our cards from Minted I never tried them before, but was tempted by a $25  free credit. The packaging made me happy.

We went with postcards this year.  I liked that you could have another picture on the back, and then we could use postcard stamps.  The only downfall was that the U.S. Postal service does not make Christmas postcard stamps, so all my Christmas postcards went out stamped with an "Aloha" Hawaiian shirt.  Oh well.  We can't have it all just so.

So thankful simply to have a photo of our family, all together, in front of our home, and for friends near and far to send Christmas wishes to.  Thank you for all your sweet wishes this week and welcome back - you all are so kind.



Saturday, December 8, 2012


Been absent such a while now.  After such a while it's little daunting to come back.  But I think I'm least for the purposes of sharing a little here and there in the Christmas celebration.  A new year is just weeks away - a handy and appropriate time to begin an earnest, fresh so many things.

For the dear, faithful friends who will read this, thank you for being so patient and for the very kind emails.

with love,


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

a little Orla Kiely in the house

Going to Target has always felt like something of a treat to me, even when it was just a five minute drive from my house.  Now the closest Target is 50 minutes away, making it a veritable Destination.
Don't worry, I've still managed to make it there about once a month. ; )  On my last trip I made a beeline to the hand soap section to find myself a couple of these.

Target is carrying Method soaps in Orla Kiely patterns for the fall.  Have you seen them? It just doesn't get much better than this. 

I really love Orla Kiely - from purses to wallpaper, her patterns look fresh and happy anywhere.  This wallpaper has been around a lot and it's discontinued now, but it will always be my favorite.

Wouldn't this be the happiest surprise in the closet?

Pretty Orla Kiely umbrella.

Orla clothes are amazingly charming. 

Always cute-cute handbags.

The thing is that Orla's pricey wallpaper, clothes and purses are not very likely to make it into my house.  But some Orla Kiely hand soap, I can manage.   I justified two, so I'd have an extra one on hand for a pretty, fall hostess gift.  You just never know when you'll need one.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

something pretty

We'd waited all spring and even all this long summer.  We meant to save it until we were desperate for some cheering up in the middle of our first Iowan winter.   Alas, we only made it three-quarters into a very sunny September.   My sweetheart and I gave in and finally started watching Downton Abbey.

It's perhaps sad but true what a happy difference it's made this last week - each day having the anticipation of watching another episode in the evening.   I can't say that it has even so much to do with the story - though it's growing on me -'s just so pretty.   With a cup of peppermint tea in hand,  I just sit back and enjoy forty minutes of beautiful decor, clothes and scenery.

It's a lovely way to end a long day. 

Have you seen it yet?  If by some extraordinary chance you have not heard of Downton Abbey yet or have put off watching it, I urge you not to deprive yourself any longer.   Though we didn't hold out as we'd planned, I'm thinking we can do reruns in February. ; )



Monday, September 24, 2012

it's growing on me...

I've been living with this old, harvest gold, Frigidaire Deluxe double oven and electric range for about three months now.  I can't say it was the reason we bought the house, but it definitely has a certain charm.  And I have no complaints about it's performance.  It works quite well, and I really love using the smaller upper oven - heating it up somehow doesn't feel like the same level of commitment as heating the bottom larger oven - it's perfect for just a half batch of cookies.

I really do hope to have pictures of the whole kitchen soon...finally put the cabinet doors back on (on the bottom cabinets and pantry area) only to realize we somehow managed to paint a cabinet green that was supposed to be white.  Sigh.  So time to get the paint brushes out again!  Finding it hard to wrap up these projects...especially with fall in the air, cozy books to ready, and apple orchards to visit, and maybe this pumpkin bread to my Frigidaire Deluxe.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

a garden delivered to my door

We subscribed to our local CSA.  It was our first time to do anything of the kind, so I did not know what do expect and was certainly not prepared for the vegetable bounty that was delivered to our doorstep this week.  It was all so Beautiful. 

I admit I am mostly smitten by the romance of it -  bags of vegetables just picked from the garden, sitting on the front porch of my house in a small town in the Midwest.   Everything was so fresh, and natural, slightly dirty and dewy.   Really, who could not be charmed by these fingerling potatoes?

And these little carrots are right out of my provincial dreams. 

 There was also arugula, red, yellow and purple tomatoes, sweet potato, garlic, red onion, squash, peppers, and the most amazing Grecian mixed greens.

This evening I roasted the fingerlings, carrots, and red onion and used this recipe I found on Pinterest.  Fresh herbs always feel like a splurge to me, but if you can find a "poultry pack" at the store it includes thyme and rosemary - so you kind of get two for one.  It is completely worth it.  Our house smelled so good, and it tasted even better.   I left my carrots and potatoes whole, because they looked so lovely and rustic that way, and served it with my favorite roast and gravy...I'll have to post that sometime.   Planning on trying this recipe to use the arugula tomorrow - can't wait.

I most certainly hope that a garden of my own will fit into life one day, but for now this is quite nearly just as good.

For those of you who may not know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  It's a lovely way to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.  Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables or fruit.  Interested households purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce weekly or semi-weekly throughout the farming season.  And it is delightful!

with love,


Sunday, September 16, 2012

in print for the first time

The email came just a month or so ago. Nothing could have been more unexpected I sat in the middle of the dust and debris of our new home than a request from Cottages and Bungalows magazine to include my fall mantel in their November issue.

Oh, happy squeals of joy.

This was the fall framed mantel I did almost exactly a year ago in our old home.  The ironic thing is how little time and attention I took with the photos.  I remember taking them in a hurry, early one morning when the light was terrible.  I didn't dust or clean the glass or fix the light fixture, or clean off the frig reflected in the mirror.  

 And yet here the pictures are, printed in a magazine.  Dust and all.

It felt pretty special to receive a couple complementary preview issues via fedex a week ago.  I believe the November issue is now for sale, and though I admit I'm not a Cottages and Bungalows regular, I did really love looking through this issue.
(update: I'm thinking that actually the Nov. issue isn't for sale till Oct?)

No, not just because I was in it.   Didn't hurt, though. ; )



Friday, September 14, 2012

Pretty and All in a Row


As I mentioned, finding homes for all the odds in ends that managed to make it from Colorado to Iowa was quite the job.  Somethings adjusted more easily than others.   Somethings sat about homeless for days...poor vacuum.  Somethings were just plain fun to put away.

In our old house this cabinet  housed china-type items.  But as it couldn't fit in the dining room it was around the corner in the library/living room, and so also kept books and miscellany fragile items.  In the end it looked too busy.  Now in the new house, the cabinet is at home in the dining room, and it was time to simplify.

 I seriously was channeling my inner Martha Stewart as I thought these shelves through - what would Martha do?  

I decided that Martha would group like items together - whites with whites, glass with glass, pattern with pattern. 

She would probably find another home for the odd blue and white pieces and the figurines.
She would try for some easy symmetry and balance. 

 And she would surely keep it as simple and clean-looking as possible.

I really love how it turned out, and like that the top is kept uncluttered too with the simple clock and pitchers.  It's a pleasant place to rest your eye.  Everything feels happily at home and even easy to get out and actually use.   What a lovely idea.

Martha would probably also have the glass doors clear and clean and the walls painted by now. 
Never mind that.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Unpacked and Trying for Settled

So that little two-week vacation from blogging wasn't quite planned.  But perhaps it was inevitable.  My dear mother just left after an almost two week stay - bless her heart.   I had thought when she came we would wrap up some house projects, but when she got here, she said, "Let's just unpack these boxes already!"  So smart.

So that's what we did, we unpacked and unpacked and tried our darnedest to find homes for everything.  (Though I did start a get-rid-of box pretty quick)  It was hard work but goodness, we did have fun. 

This picture is a good representation of our house as a whole as it stands now.  Some order has been achieved, all the packing boxes have vacated the building ...but plaster is in a crumbling state and paint color swatches adorn the walls.   And there seems to be a fair amount of dust, everywhere. 


Nevertheless, we are feeling much more settled, so my plan is to do Nothing for a least one month.  No house projects that is.  For one month I will simply focus on keeping things clean, finding a steady rhythm for the day, enjoying our home as it is, and see if we can't remember how to have fun together.  We haven't completely forgotten how, but almost.  I also hope to catch up a little bit here!  I've so missed blogging and hope to be more steady in the coming weeks.  

with love,


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

keeping things in perspective

So blessed by your kind, encouraging comments.   I am sorry the posting has been so thin and far between, but it means so much knowing that there are still such sympathetic, caring souls checking in on me as we settle into this small, new town, and this large, messy house. Thank you for taking a moment to encourage me a bit in my really not-so-dire circumstances.


It is the best comfort to know we're not alone, and I'm trying to keep things in proper perspective, realizing that we are not facing any Real hardship here.....It is amazing to be in this house and have strength and resources to make it into a home.  It is not as if we've been given any tremendous obstacles to overcome, or great difficulties to choose joy in spite of.

No, choosing joy has simply been the business of smiling at my spouse over a breakfast that smells more of polyurethane than bacon, and squelching unpleasant utterances after getting another bruise on the maze of furniture, and not snapping at the children when they topple a pile of boxes, and not fretting {too much} about temporarily sleeping in the basement with the spiders.  Funny {and sad} how this business has kept my soul plenty busy.


This is our eighth week in the house and perhaps the most trying as we are turned upside down again in order to get the floors refinished.  But the floors are almost done, the painting is progress and we are on the brink of finally unpacking.

And this is the hope that now greets me when I open the front door.

{Please note absence  of unwanted door in the wall, crumbling plaster and worn-out floors.}

with every good intention of resuming more regular programming soon,
and with love,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

progress, of a sort

It's been pretty quiet here of late.   On the home front the work is slow, and I admit it's been challenge to maintain a vision, and stay motivated, and not get discouraged.

Living out of a suitcase is sort of feeling old hat.  Simply properly caring for three little people each day feels like a substantial enough accomplishment, thank you.  And I am sometimes answering my sweetheart "no, it's not time to hire a cleaning lady...not yet."

Nonetheless, Progress is happening here.  Perhaps not measurably about the house, but we are getting lots of good lessons.  Lessons on joy regardless and in spite of circumstances - specifically the circumstance of a very messy, new house and all the unsettling feelings that go with it.   

"Happiness that depends on circumstances 

            is a very poor article indeed." 

So today, I am believing that this will not always be the sight that greets you when you walk through our front door,

That this will not always be the state of my living room {and my old clock will not remain atop a box},

And this will not always be the circumstances in which I write a bit to you.


And great changes are just around the corner.  The walls are almost fixed and the floor refinishers are coming this week!   We are all finally well again and there are still lovely summer days to be enjoyed outside together.   Yes, much to be hopeful and happy about.  Hope you are making progress of a sort, too. : )


Thursday, August 2, 2012

a summer ice cream party

Revisiting the end of June today and a little party we managed to squeeze in just before we drove away to Iowa.  You see, we have this funny, somewhat awkward tradition of celebrating the twin's  birthday in mid-summer since their real birthday is just four days after Christmas.  We call it their "half" birthday.  Don't know if the tradition will stick, but since we didn't celebrate last December I couldn't stand the thought of not celebrating their third birthday properly, so we celebrated...the day before we moved away.  I'm so glad we did.

The tradition seems to also be an ice-cream party {we had 2 1/2 party last year, too}.

 At this point all our earthly goods were on their way in the moving van, so had to keep it simple. Nevertheless, we still managed the predictable but irresistibly festive party decor.  Enter, the bunting.

and really, is it even possible to have a party without stripey straws?

 the "birthday" pair.  Couldn't love these two more.

 And all the dear cousins.  Goodness, we miss them.

Now then, it's certainly not too late to have a little ice cream party of your own! 

orange stripey straws: retro sally
bunting paper, sprinkles, plastic bowls, napkins: hobby lobby
wooden spoons: amazon
cousins: colorado